43 best Italian TV shows to learn Italian in 2023: Netflix, Prime and Youtube

13th April 2023

Check out these Italian TV shows and get tips on how to use them - the ultimate guide to learning Italian from your sofa!

Watching Italian TV shows is a fantastic way to practice, because you can do ALL these things at once:

  • Train yourself to understand native speakers by listening to realistic conversations.
  • Get into Italian culture and “visit” different places in Italy, without leaving your couch!
  • Lose yourself in a story - you build an emotional connection to Italian which helps you remember words and grammar.

However, there are a few things to watch out for.

First, it can be difficult to find the right show. You might not know which Italian TV shows are available or where to start looking.

Secondly, Italian TV shows are made for native speakers, so they’re difficili, even if you’ve been learning Italian for a while. Without the right techniques in place, you might get discouraged and give up too soon, without getting the benefits of this fun and relaxing way to learn Italian.

So in this article, compiled by Ermy from the Language Rose and Katie from Joy of Languages, you’ll find two sections.

The first section will help you find the right Italian TV shows to watch. Then, you'll find a step-by step guide on how to use these shows to improve your Italian, including what to do when you don’t understand.

Let’s start with our top 43 Italian TV shows. Cominciamo!‌

Italian Dramas
Italian Documentaries
Italian Comedies
Italian Soap Operas and Reality Shows
Italian TV Channels on Youtube
Dubbed Series in Italian
How to learn Italian by watching TV shows

Italian Dramas

Fedeltà (Devotion, a Story of Love and Desire)

This series follows Milan-based couple Margherita and Carlo, as their passionate and loving marriage slowly starts to unravel. Faced with suspicions of infidelity and uncertainty about their own lives, will they have the ability to control the effects of their decisions?

Where: Netflix

Best for: Learning everyday, conversational Italian and admiring Milan’s diverse and impressive architecture.

Tutto chiede salvezza (Everything Calls for Salvation)

This story revolves around a distressed young man who awakens to find himself involuntarily confined in a psychiatric hospital. During his week-long stay, his encounters with other patients and confrontations with cynical doctors and nurses will have a profound and lasting impact on his life. 

The series, based on Daniele Mencarelli's acclaimed novel of the same name, questions what we consider to be normal and explores the healing power of friendship, love, and vulnerability. 

Where: Netflix

Best for: Understanding the Roman accent and getting lost in the great acting.

L’amica geniale (My Brilliant Friend)

Adapted from the well-loved novel by Elena Ferrante, this coming-of-age drama is set in 1950s Naples. Two girls growing up in post-war Italy face complications as their lives become intertwined between the Camorra (a mafia-style organisation in Naples) and communist ideals.

You'll find a solid story, talented actors and cinematography that makes you feel like you’re looking out over Vesuvius and walking along the cobbled streets right next to the characters.

Some of the dialogue is in Neapolitan, which can pose an extra challenge for Italian learners. So don't worry if you need extra help from the subtitles, that's normal.

Where: Amazon Prime, HBO (USA); RaiPlay (Italy/VPN)

Best for: Advanced learners who want to hear Italians speaking in their local language (Neapolitan in this case). Anyone who wants to spend an hour immersed in beautiful Naples.

La vita bugiarda degli adulti (The Lying Life of Adults)

If you can’t get enough of Elena Ferrante’s Naples, you’ll also love this series, based on her book of the same name. It follows Giovanna, a young woman navigating the complexities of adolescence and adulthood in the 1990s.

When Giovanna's father makes a comment about her appearance, she delves deeper into her family’s past, uncovering a web of lies that has defined her life.

The series gives you an insider view of one of Italy’s most populated cities, across class divides and the precarious position of women in society.

Where: Netflix

Best for: Getting used to regional languages in Italy and catching beautiful views across the city from the affluent neighbourhood of Vomero.


In this haunting Italian thriller series, a mother returns home with her twin daughters seventeen years after the horrific events that made her leave Curon. Strange events begin to occur and Anna's past begins to catch up with her as she tries to uncover the dark secrets that have haunted the town for generations. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Italian alps, this is a must-watch for fans of supernatural mysteries.

Where: Netflix

Best for: Italian learners who love psychological thrillers and want to get lost in a gripping story line

Il Commissario Montalbano (Inspector Montalbano)

Montalbano is the chief of the state police station of Vigata, a fictional town in Sicily. He investigates various crimes in his area, which he manages to solve thanks to his intelligence and the help of various characters he encounters on his journey. If you love detective stories, you should definitely watch this series!

Keep in mind that a lot of the dialogue is in the Sicilian dialect, so the dialogue presents some real challenges for learners, even at very advanced levels. But it’s worth persevering for the gorgeous sea-views and interesting plot twists.

Where: This series is popular all over the world, so you might be able to find it on a broadcasting service in your country. For example, in the UK, you can find it on BBC iPlayer. In Australia, it’s broadcast on SBS.

You might also be able to find it on Amazon Prime, or if you’re in Italy, you can watch the series on RaiPlay.

Best for: Getting used to the Sicilian dialect and imagining yourself sipping a white wine next to Montalbano on his beach-front house.

Luna park

Set against the lights and glamour of 1960s Rome, this series revolves around a chance meeting between two young women whose lives are more intertwined than they could have imagined. Nora and Rosa seek to understand the powerful link that binds them across a series of intrigues, different generations and romantic encounters. 

Where: Netflix

Best for: Listening to everyday, conversational Italian and feeling nostalgic in '60s Rome.

Suburra (Blood on Rome)

This criminal drama series, inspired by the 2015 film and the book of the same name, is based on real events of the Mafia Capitale investigation, which exposed a series of corrupt relationships between politicians and the criminal underworld in Rome.

The first Italian language TV series to appear on Netflix, the series is a prequel, exploring the lives and power struggles of those involved before the events came to light.

There’s a lot of Roman dialect in this one, so it’s not the best series for learning standard Italian, but it’s perfect for training yourself to get used to strong regional varieties of Italian, and an overall gripping story to get lost in.

Where: Netflix

Best for: Getting used to the Romanesco dialect and seeing the diverse districts of Rome. 

La legge di Lidia Poët (The Law According to Lidia Poët)

This is the tale of Lidia Poët, the first female lawyer in Italy, who is barred from practising law and prepares to challenge the court's ruling with an appeal, as depicted in this true story. The series offers a glimpse into the arduous journey of a determined lawyer as she faces various challenges imposed by society.

Where: Netflix

Best for: Listening to clear, everyday conversations, learning legal vocabulary and checking out the beautiful piazzas in 1880’s Turin. 

Gomorra (Gomorrah)

Back in Naples, this series is based on the book of the same name, written by journalist Saviano who infiltrated and exposed the criminal underworld in his home city. Written like a novel, but based on true events, Saviano, who’s been living under police protection for over 10 years, created a new, gripping genre. He exposed the Camorra (the mafia in Naples) to Italians, and later to the rest of the world in a way that had never been done before.

In 2008, the book was turned into an award-winning film of the same name, and later a TV show.

The show doesn’t maintain much of the investigative journalism style of the book, but it does show the gritty realities of gang life in Naples.

Both the film and the series are in the local Neapolitan dialect, a language so different from Italian that even Italians need subtitles to watch it. But the book, film and series have been an important part of the conversation in Italy, so we thought you might like to know more about them.

Here’s a little more about the writer, who collaborated with the makers of the series.

Where:‌ HBO (USA); Now TV (Italy/VPN)

Best for: Fans of gritty gangster dramas. Be sure to look into Roberto Saviano and his book, so you can start to understand the realities behind the Camorra gang in Italy.


Zero follows a shy teen of Senegalese descent living in Milan. Inspired by Antonio Dikele Distefano's novel "I Have Never Been My Age", this character discovers an extraordinary power - the ability to turn invisible - that is triggered by intense emotions.

In order to protect his neighbourhood from the threat of real estate development, Omar embarks on a journey with his newfound friends and even finds love along the way. Will he be able to save Barrio or will his dreams remain merely that?

Where: Netflix

Best for: Learning youth slang and seeing the social contradictions across affluent and low-income areas of Milan


Inspired by a true case that happened in Rome in 2013,  this dark teen drama is centered on the lives of two young private-school students who become involved in a prostitution ring to gain financial independence and fund expensive lifestyles.

While the real events caused a scandal in Italy, uncovering a number of high profile clients, including government officials, the fictional series focuses more on the psychology and relationships of the two characters. What could have driven two girls to choose this lifestyle? What consequences will their secret have on the people around them and their futures?

Some of the characters speak in the Romanesco dialect, so it’ll be handy to turn on Italian subs for this one.

Where: Netflix

Best for: Picking up the lingo of young Italians, seeing how the other half live in Rome and taking in stunning views from the surrounding Roman hills.

I Bastardi di Pizzofalcone (The Bastards of Pizzofalcone)

In this series a team of police officers arrive to replace their colleagues caught up in a drug trafficking case. Fished from the rejects of other police stations, the new team earn themselves the name i bastardi.

Compared to a lot of the detective and crime shows on this list, the speech is closer to standard Italian, so it’s a great option for Italian learners. 

Where:‌ Amazon Prime - MHz Choice (USA); RaiPlay (Italy/VPN)

Best for: Learning conversational Italian and picking up some crime vocabulary

Romanzo Criminale

This cult series, based on the novel and film of the same name, tells the story of three friends who are members of the Banda della Magliana, a mafia-style group based in Rome. Things get messy as they attempt to unite and gain control of the various criminal organisations in the city.

Inspired by true events, this violent series is not for the faint hearted, but you’ll like it if you enjoy a good gangster story. A lot of the dialogue is in Romanesco, the local dialect spoken in the capital, so you might need subtitles for this one.

Where:‌ Amazon Prime (USA), Now TV (Italy/VPN)

Best for: Advanced learners who want to get used to the Romanesco dialect. And anyone who enjoys a good Italian gangster drama!

1992 (Berlusconi Rising)

This series is based on mani pulite (literally “clean hands”), the investigation that shook the entire country by exposing political corruption in Italy in the early '90s.

A wealthy business man attempts to turn the events to his advantage and rise to power. Perhaps thinking that the allusion might be lost on foreign viewers, outside of Italy they added the subtitle “Berlusconi Rising”.

Whenever you ask Italians for TV show recommendations, this one always comes up. If you like dramas like House of Cards, Westwing or Madmen, you’ll probably really enjoy this one.

Look out for the follow up series:‌ 1993 and 1994.

Where: Amazon Prime - Topic (USA); NOW TV (Italy/VPN)

Best for: Learning about this defining moment in Italian politics and understanding how Berlusconi came to power.

Made in Italy

Set in Milan in the 1970s, this drama follows the lives of interns, journalists, designers, and models during a period when Italy’s fashion industry was becoming world famous.

Wrapped up in the exciting new world of fashion, the series explores themes of the changing times, including sexuality, women in the workforce and the lifestyles of the stylists who built up the industry in Italy.

The pretty cinematography pulls you in, making you feel like you just spent the last hour walking around the historical buildings and chic streets of Milano.

Where:‌ Amazon Prime (Topic)

Best for: Learning Italian fashion vocabulary, listening to everyday conversations and soaking in the fabulous Milanese scenery.

Rocco Schiavone

A vice police chief is transferred from his home city in Rome to the small mountain town Aosta under mysterious circumstances.

Based on the novels of Antonio Manzini, Rocco Schiavone is the ultimate antihero - a rule breaking, weed smoking cop, who you immediately warm to.

Where: PBS (USA); Rai 2 (Italy/VPN)

Best for: Learning crime vocabulary and getting to know Marco Giallini, one of Italy’s best loved actors.


Summer is a heartwarming Italian series that follows the lives of five young adults spending an eventful summer on Italy's picturesque Adriatic Coast. In this teen drama, influenced by Federico Moccia's book series, the two main characters from vastly different backgrounds fall in love, while the others confront their convictions and learn more about themselves. 

Where: Netflix

Best for: Training yourself to understand everyday, conversational Italian and picking up a little gen-z slang. 

Italian Documentaries

Una semplice domanda (One Simple Question)

In this show, likable Italian TV presenter Alessandro Cattelan explores thought-provoking topics through interviews with everyday people and Italian stars, including Oscar winning director Paolo Sorrentino and football legend Roberto Baggio.  

Posing one simple question per episode, Alessandro uncovers touching insights into what it means to be human. From cab drivers to teenagers to business executives, the series delivers unexpected glimpses into the lives of Italian people from all walks of life.

Where: Netflix

Best for: Listening to spontaneous conversations, getting to know Italian celebrities and seeing diverse corners of Italy.

First Team: Juventus

This documentary series follows Juventus players on and off the field as they attempt to win their 7th consecutive Italian title and prepare for the Champions League.

Players include Federico Bernardeschi, Giorgio Chiellini, Douglas Costa and Gonzalo Higuaín.

If you’re into football, this is a great way to learn more about the team and brush up on your Italian at the same time.

Where: Netflix

Best for: Soccer fans who want to learn how to converse about the sport, a great small talk subject in Italy!

Vendetta (Truth lies and the mafia)

In this gripping true crime documentary, two members of Sicily’s anti-Mafia coalition accuse each other of corruption. 

Journalist Pino Maniaci is celebrated for his bravery when he hosts a show calling out members of the mafia, despite constant death threats. While investigating the seizing of assets, he accuses Judge Silvana Saguto of corruption in her handling of confiscated mafia property. But something surfaces which suggests that perhaps it’s Maniaci himself, who’s guilty of extorting local officials. Who is telling the truth? 

Where: Netflix

Best for: Understanding the contradictions of Sicily as you hop from the messy fight against the mafia to stunning drone shots of city and countryside landscapes.

Il Caso Alex Schwazer (Running for my Truth)

This gripping documentary follows Italian race walker Alex Schwazer as he fights to clear his name against accusations of doping. The series offers an intimate portrayal of his challenges as he prepared for the 2016 Rio Olympics, only to be caught with illegal performance-enhancing drugs and banned from the sport for four years.

Raising important questions about the fairness of anti-doping policies in sports, the thought-provoking documentary shines a light on the darker side of sports and the toll that scandals can have on athletes.

Where: Netflix

Best for: Picking up sports vocabulary and learning about an important case in Italian sporting history.

Wanna (Fortune Seller: A TV Scam)

This series tells the amazing tale of larger than life personality Wanna Marchi, the biggest fraudster in Italian TV history. You’ll learn how Wanna was able to build a massive empire worth millions of dollars, by carrying out sophisticated scams that exploited the hopes of vulnerable people. The series provides an intriguing account of how Wanna was able to amass her fortune while evading prosecution for several years. 

The documentary was very popular in Italy - when it came out everyone was talking about it!

Where: Netflix

Best for: Learning some insults and gossiping with your Italian friends

San Pa (Sins of the Saviour)

"SanPa" highlights the tragic story of San Patrignano, Italy's largest drug rehabilitation centre. With testimonies from former community members, the documentary explores the dark side of what was once famously hailed as a revolutionary approach to drug rehabilitation. 

Weighing up the positive transformations many patients experienced against the severe corruption and power dynamics that existed within San Patrignano, the documentary raises an important question: do the ends always justify the means? 

Where: Netflix

Best for: Listening to a fairly standard Italian and learning about the importance of this case in '90s Italy.

Italian Comedies

Generazione 56k (Generation 56k)

An unexpected reunion for Daniel and Matilda, former classmates, takes them back to 1998 - the year hormones began roaring and the internet started to shape their lives. Set mainly in Naples and on the island of Procida, the two confront past traumas, present dilemmas, and a rapidly-changing world, all while trying to figure out if they were meant to be together.

Where: Netflix

Best for: Learning conversational Italian and local slang, whilst getting lost in '90s nostalgia. 

Incastrati (Framed! A Sicilian Murder Mystery)

In this Sicilian Murder Mystery, two bumbling TV technicians, Valentino and Salvo, stumble into a crime scene. Attempting to clean up to avoid suspicion, their plan takes a hilarious turn when Valentino starts a relationship with his former classmate who also happens to be the deputy chief of local police. Will the TV technicians be able to keep their hands clean?

Where: Netflix

Best for: Getting used to Sicilian accents and laughing so much you’ll forget you’re studying Italian.

Guida astrologia per cuori infranti (An Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts)

This series, adapted from Silvia Zucca's book, follows Alice as she navigates the complexities of both her personal and professional life. She meets Tio, who introduces her to a more authentic form of astrology that aims to help people navigate their emotional struggles.

Despite her newfound astrological knowledge, Alice still faces a series of uncomfortable situations, including bad dates and awkward misunderstandings.

Where: Netflix

Best for: Listening to a fairly standard Italian and enjoying some light relief while you learn.

Strappare lungo i bordi (Tear Along the Dotted Line)

Follow the journey of Rome's Zerocalcare, a cartoonist navigating life's complexities with his friends Sarah and Secco. While on the road, he recalls key moments from his past and confronts feelings of unrequited love. 

Through flashbacks to his middle school and high school years, the protagonist tries to escape himself with humour, irony and sarcasm while being reminded of a greater purpose by an anthropomorphic armadillo. Tear Along The Dotted Line captures Zerocalcare's story as he discovers how seemingly random events converge to form something more meaningful.

The speech is fast and full of slang, so this one’s ideal for advanced learners. 

Where: Netflix

Best for: Advanced learners and fans of animated series who want to discover Italy’s celebrated cartoonist, Zerocalcare, who stars as himself.


Psst! Watch the same clip dubbed in English, here: Boris in English

Set behind the scenes of a popular fiction (soap opera), this parody makes fun of the daily goings on between the directors, actors and production teams.

If you like satirical comedy series like Arrested Development or Curb your Enthusiasm, you might appreciate the dry humor of this Italian show.

I’d also recommend checking out the film with the same name.

Where: Disney Plus. At the time of writing, the series is also available on Daily Motion with English subtitles.

Best for: Advanced learners who are fans of satirical comedies: can you get the Italian version of this humour, too? 

Italian Soap Operas and Reality Shows

Un Medico in Famiglia (A Doctor in the Family)

This series depicts an average Italian family and their busy and funny family life. The main character of this series is a doctor (“un medico”) who lives with his family in the same house where everyone gets involved in each other’s business and the concept of privacy doesn’t really exist! 

The lively, united and amusing family of un Medico in Famiglia will show you the way average Italians deal with daily life issues, such as love, school, and career.

Where: You can find some scenes on Youtube, or if you’re in Italy or have a VPN, you can catch the whole series on RaiPlay

Best for: Learning medical vocabulary and understanding natural conversations in Italian.

Un posto al sole (A Place in the Sun)

From Monday to Friday at 20:45, millions of Italians sit down to follow the lives of the residents of Palazzo Palladini, a villa by the sea in Naples. Running for over 20 years, this soap opera is an Italian institution.

Based on the format of the Australian soap Neighbours, expect the usual plots:‌ love triangles, paternity tests, criminal activity and other family secrets.

To date, there are over 5000 episodes, so you won’t be short of listening materials!

Where: You can find parts of some episodes on Youtube, or if you’re in Italy or have a VPN, you can catch the whole series on RaiPlay.

Best for: Learning everyday, conversational Italian and pretending you live in a gorgeous Italian coastal town.

Masterchef Italia

Join wannabe cooks in the kitchen as they’re put under pressure by famous Italian chefs. The Italian version of this international format is brilliant, perhaps because of the importance of food in Italian culture. Expect stunning locations, lots of laughter and a few tears.

Where: Check out the Masterchef Youtube channel here.

Best for: Picking up food vocabulary. Italians love to talk about food, so hone your knowledge in this area and watch your small talk skills soar!

Summer job

Generation Z contestants embark on the ultimate summer experience - a lavish Mexican getaway. What the 10 youths don't know is that in order to stay in an extravagant villa and compete for a cash prize, they must first secure a real job. Follow their struggles as they take on new responsibilities to secure their stay and potentially claim rewards beyond their wildest dreams.

Where: Netflix

Best for: Training yourself to understand natural, spontaneous conversations in Italian and learning some Gen Z Italian slang. 

Italian TV channels on Youtube

The big Italian TV networks also have Youtube channels, so you can check out some clips and sometimes full episodes. You’ll get a nice idea of what’s available on the channels and the chance to dip your toe into Italian culture.


On the Youtube channels of this Italian TV Network, you’ll find full episodes of a lot of their shows, divided by genre. For example, on their news channel, La7 attualità, you’ll find full episodes of current affairs shows such as Otto e mezzo, Coffee break and Omnibus.

For straight up news, try TG La7 and for something a little lighter, try their entertainment channel La7 Intrattenimento where you’ll find shows like Uozzap (a play on the Italian pronunciation of “Whats app”) or gardening show L’erba del vicino.

Finally, you’ll also find La7d, where the network publishes their daytime and reality TV such as cooking, chat and travel shows.


For more cooking, you can also check out their channel Food Maniac.

La Rai

Rai is the national broadcasting company in Italy. On the Rai Youtube channel, you’ll find clips and sometimes full episodes of shows across their network, including radio shows.

For day-time style entertainment, look out for Italia sì, or La vita in diretta, which cover mini stories in the everyday lives of the Italian public. Or hone your general knowledge and vocabulary with the game show L’Eridità.

You’ll also find some classic current affairs shows such as Report and Porta a Porta.

For more Italian Youtube channels, check out this post: 14 addictive Italian Youtube channels to learn Italian (with subtitles)

BONUS: Dubbed series in Italian

Did you know that in Italy, foreign films and series are dubbed in Italian? This means that there are loads of shows with Italian audio that you may want to watch (or rewatch!) too.

It helps to choose a TV series or a film you already know and love - this way you’ll be able to follow the storyline better and pick up new words whilst developing your listening skills.

Here are some examples:

  • Friends
  • Orange is the new black
  • Grace and Frankie
  • Stranger things
  • Westwing
  • House of cards
  • Madmen
  • Una mamma per amica - the Italian version of Gilmore Girls!

The list is endless… whatever your favourite show is, you can probably find it dubbed in Italian. Do a quick search on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or any other platform you use and you should find many more series that you can watch in Italian.

Also, have a look at the old DVDs you have at home and see on the cover what languages they can be watched in. If Italian is featured, you’re set!

If you need more advice on dealing with the kind of fast speech that you find in TV series and films, you can watch Ermy’s video on how to train your listening:

How to learn Italian by watching TV

The shows above are aimed at native speakers, which means that they can be tricky to follow, even at advanced levels. If you find them overwhelming, don't worry, è normale!

You can still enjoy learning Italian with TV shows. All you need are a few extra strategies in place.

In the rest of this article, you’ll learn:

  • How to choose the right TV shows for your tastes and level.
  • Strategies for when you don’t understand.
  • Activities to help you make progress as you watch Italian TV shows.

Which Italian TV show should I choose?

When thinking about which show to choose, there are two things to bear in mind.

  1. Do I like the show?‌
  2. Is the language the right level/useful enough?

It’s important to choose a show you really like. Why? Learning to understand the dialogues in Italian TV shows takes a lot of patience and effort. If you don’t like the show, you’ll lose motivation quickly.

On the flip side, if you pick a show you love, you’ll be motivated to understand what’s happening. You’ll dedicate more time and energy to looking up words and rewinding bits to make sure you understood. This means you’ll learn more Italian!

How to choose an Italian show at the right level

I have a Brazilian friend, Fabricio, who speaks fab English. One of his favourite series is “Game of Thrones”. However, he pointed out that this wouldn’t be a very useful series for learners, for a few reasons:

  1. The speech is difficult to understand, with lots of strong accents. 
  2. The language isn’t very useful. When was the last time you heard someone use the words “jester” or “dagger” in conversation?
  3. The episodes last for an hour, which is a bit overwhelming.

His advice? To find out whether an Italian TV show is the right level for you, try it out!

Choose a show and play an episode, ideally with subtitles in Italian. These will help you follow the speech more easily, see words you already know in use, learn new vocabulary and get used to the sounds of Italian. If you need to pause to catch up and read the subtitles, that’s fine.

If you understood enough to get the general gist of what was going on, ottimo!‌ You can kick back and enjoy the show. Or, if you're in "study mode", you can pause the episode to write down new words.

Pro tip: Focus on understanding the general gist. Don’t look up every new word because that’ll get old quickly! I’d recommend just doing it for:‌

1. Words which are key to understanding the plot - you won't know what’s going on unless you find out the meaning of this word.

2. Words or phrases that you feel drawn to and think might be useful in your own conversations.

Over time, you’ll get faster at understanding (pausing less) and, when you watch a lot of Italian TV shows, you might reach the stage where you can ditch the subtitles altogether. But don’t feel like you need to rush this - watching TV without subtitles is for very advanced levels, and you can still learn a lot with Italian subtitles on.

Aiuto! What if I don’t understand anything?

If you find that Italian TV is impossibile to follow, that’s ok, and also totally normal! In this section, we’ll look at activities you can do to make the dialogues easier to understand.

1. Try the Language Reactor app

If you're finding Italian TV hard to follow, it's probably due to one of these reasons:

  1. You don’t know the words.
  2. They speak too fast.

There’s a brilliant Chrome extension that can help. It’s called Language Reactor and it makes Italian TV shows easier to watch because it makes the subtitles interactive. Just click on a word you don’t know and the definition will pop up!‌

There are loads of other settings designed to help you learn too, for example:

  1. You can press the back key to hear the same line as many times as you like.
  2. There’s an optional side bar where you can quickly compare the sentence to the translation in your native language.

If you only do one thing after reading this article, give language reactor a try – it might be the best thing you ever do to improve your Italian!

2. Start with Italian shows designed for learners

When you learn Italian, it’s important to be patient and forgiving with yourself. Give yourself permission to be a learner for as long as it takes.

If normal shows are too much of a challenge at the moment, look for simplified series aimed at learners. For example, the Easy Italian Youtube channel has subtitles in Italian and English, to help you understand what’s being said.

If you find that people speak too fast in the street interviews, you can try the Super Easy Series.

3. Watch the Italian TV show with English subs

The final option is to watch the show with subtitles in your native language, or another language you speak well. This option isn’t always ideal, because you can end up reading the subtitles without listening to the Italian.

However, it's good for immersing yourself in the culture, picking up a few words and getting used to the sounds of Italian.

As you watch, pay as much attention to the Italian audio as possible. When you focus in this way, you’ll hear lots of common words that are repeated by the actors and start to be able to link them to words in your native language.

You can also write the words down and study them later. If you can’t identify the words by ear, try flipping over to the Italian subtitles to see the word written down.

In the meantime, keep studying Italian. Over time, you’ll make more links between what you’re hearing and reading, until you’re ready for the next step: watching the series with subtitles in Italian.

4. Use Italian TV shows as a study resource

OK, so you might not be able to understand the show if you kick back and watch it as you would in your native language, but as long as you have subtitles (almost all the Netflix series do), there are lots of study activities you can do with the series to improve your Italian.

Check out the post below for some handy study strategies to learn Italian by watching TV shows:


This option isn't as relaxing as watching a normal TV show, but it’s still a lot more fun than sitting in a classroom memorising verb tables!

For more ideas on how to use TV series to learn Italian, check out Katie’s talk at the Polyglot Gathering in Bratislava:

Over to you

Have you seen any of these Italian TV shows?‌ What did you think‌?‌ Do you know any other good Italian TV shows or series dubbed in Italian that you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments below and let’s add to this list!

Related posts

How to learn a language from home (even if you’re really lazy)

5 smart ways to learn a language by watching TV and films

Improve your listening skills in a foreign language - the ultimate guide

14 addictive Youtube channels to learn Italian (with subtitles)

The 38 best tools for learning Italian, from beginner to advanced


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